LOCKPORT – Greg Bronson plans to be around just in case Matt Vermette needs anything, but if the new Lockport football head coach attempts to contact Bronson on Saturdays after opening weekend, good luck with that.
Bronson will be engrossed in football drama that hits closer to home.
Bronson stepped down from Lockport after nine seasons as head coach, and 29 seasons overall with the program, so that he can follow the athletic exploits of his son Daniel, who is the starting quarterback for the University of Rochester.
“My ability to see him has been limited to when we have night games,” said Bronson of his son, the 2014 Lockport graduate. “I’d have to wait until my season was over so I was limited to three or four games a year. … I wanted to make sure I would be there to see Daniel play for the last two years of his career.
“I’m overjoyed to be able to see my son play. I’m very excited to be a fan and a father.”
Before Bronson swaps his whistle for season tickets, he has one more game to coach. He leads the North team onto the field against talented counterparts from the South on Wednesday night during the 41st annual Kensington Lions All-Star Classic at Tonawanda High School. The game, presented by the Western New York Football Alliance and ADPRO Sports, starts at 7.
Why didn’t Bronson just step down after Daniel’s senior year? He was busy being a father, fan and coach with the Lions. He stuck around to coach his youngest son, Andrew, during his senior year.
Andrew, a linebacker/running back/wide receiver, also plans to see his brother play for the Yellow Jackets regularly since he is heading to St. John Fisher College to play lacrosse. Fisher is about 20 minutes away from the U of R River Campus.
Wednesday not only is the elder Bronson’s final time on the sidelines representing Lockport, but it’s also the last time he coaches a son in competition.
“I feel fortunate to have coached my three sons,” said Bronson, who also coached his oldest son Kevin, a 2012 graduate. “There are a lot of coaches and very few get that opportunity.”
“It would mean a lot to win this game,” said Andrew, who has been on varsity since the end of his sophomore year. “It would be a memorable experience. Just something to look back on 20 years from now when we can say, ‘Do you remember winning (your last game)?’”
It won’t be easy. This game figures to be competitive as well with a who’s who of All-Western New York talent on each team. While six days of practice forces teams to come together quickly, the South – at least on paper – looks like a team born to run.
It has an offensive backfield filled with first team All-WNY selections – including News Player of the Year Tyree Brown of South Park. Lining up next to the electrifying playmaking quarterback will be Alden’s Lyle Grant and Cheektowaga’s Tyree Billingslea. St. Francis’ Brandon Metz, another first-team selection, also is another running back option for head coach Rob Currin.
Currin plans to mix the run and pass as Brown’s downfield options include All-WNY first teamer David Thomas and Cheektowaga standout receiver Tyron Lawson. Andrew Bronson admits playing defense against Brown and company should be interesting.
Bronson also believes the North’s offense has the edge with a line that potentially features All-WNY first team tackle Sam Wray of Lockport, Rich Roberson of Canisius and Dan Carr of St. Joe’s. “That’s the fun part of this game,” he said. “Everyone we play against is the respective all-star from their school.”
“It should be a fun game, just North and South going at it,” said South linebacker and All-WNY first teamer Ron Shul of Orchard Park.
As much as coach Bronson wants to go out with a win, there is something else he values more than a victory. “To me it’s more important we have a competitive game and the players showcase their abilities,” Bronson said.